NIAMS Update June 2010

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
June 17, 2010
The NIAMS Update is a monthly digest published for those interested in the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. We encourage further dissemination of this resource.
Contact Information

Office of Communications and Public Liaison

Janet S. Austin, Ph.D.

Melanie M. Martinez, M.P.A.
Public Liaison Officer

Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S.
Media Liaison


Human Microbiome Project logoHuman Microbiome Research Conference
The human microbiome may be key to health and disease, but the exact relationship between the microbiome and the human is not clearly understood. Attend the Human Microbiome Research Conference to share insights and learn more about research in this area. The conference is open to the entire scientific community interested in human microbiome and metagenomic research. The conference will be held at The Chase Park Plaza Hotel, St. Louis, MO, August 31-September 2, 2010. To register for the conference or for more information visit the Human Microbiome Project Web site or email conference organizers.


Study of MicroRNA Helps NIH Scientists Unlock Secrets of Immune Cells
With the rapid and continual advances in biotechnology, scientists are better able to see inside the nucleus of a cell to unlock the secrets of its genetic material. However, what happens outside of the nucleus has, in many ways, remained a mystery. Now, researchers with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are closer to understanding how activity outside of the nucleus determines a cell’s behavior. They looked at mouse immune cells and examined the types, amount, and activity of microRNAs, genetic components that help regulate the production of proteins. Their study provides a map to the variety of microRNAs contained within mouse immune cells and reveals the complexity of cellular protein regulation. The study appears online in the journal Immunity.

Immune Cell's Role in Lupus Nephritis Demonstrated, Paves Way for Safety Testing of Potential New Use for Asthma Drug
NIH scientists have discovered that the activation of the immune cells called basophils causes kidney damage in a mouse model of lupus nephritis. These findings and the team’s associated research in humans may lead to new treatments for this serious disease, a severe form of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that affects the kidneys and is difficult to treat.

NIAMS Scientists Identify New Genetic Loci for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Scientists from NIAMS and others supported by NIAMS have identified four places, or loci, on the human genome that are associated with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a form of arthritis that causes inflammation and pain in the spine. The research, the first genome-wide association study for AS, showed two genes and two non-gene regions newly associated with increased risk for the disease. Interestingly, the loci are not located near other AS-susceptibility genes within the major histocompatibility complex, a section of the genome containing a high number of immune-related genes. The study appeared in the February issue of the journal Nature Genetics.

NIAMS Researchers Solve Puzzle of Inflammation in TRAPS
Researchers with NIAMS have discovered a new mechanism of inflammation in the TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1)-associated periodic fever syndrome (TRAPS). Their investigation in mice revealed that having one mutant gene and one normal gene for TNFR1 caused greater disease inflammation than having two mutant TNFR1 genes. The researchers concluded that both mutant TNFR1 and normal TNFR1 must be present to cause an increased inflammatory response in TRAPS. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Survey Reveals Drop in Prevalence of Most Common Bone Disease
Findings from the NIAMS-supported National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggest that the number of older adults with osteoporosis, a disease that makes bone less dense and prone to fracture, is declining in the United States. The results are consistent with those of recent studies reporting a drop in the rate of hip fractures – the most serious consequence of osteoporosis – but the reasons for these trends are not clear. The findings have been published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Researchers Identify Genetic Variations Associated with Low Bone Mass
Scientists supported by NIAMS working with an international research consortium have identified 20 genetic variations associated with the development of osteoporosis, a condition in which bones lose mass to the point that they are at increased risk of fracture.

Study Shows How Normal Skin Bacteria Can Be Protective
While we are reminded every cold and flu season of the importance of washing our hands, new research supported by NIAMS says ridding our skin of all bacteria – if that were even possible – is not necessarily a good thing.

NIAMS and NINDS Announce Multicenter Award for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Research
NIAMS and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) are launching a 5-year, $7.5 million natural history study of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a degenerative genetically-linked neuromuscular disease. The study aims to validate non-invasive approaches to monitor the progression and treatment of DMD, and holds potential to facilitate the development of promising new therapies for people with the disease.

U.S. Commerce Department, NIH, NSF Announce "i6 Challenge" to Bring Innovative Ideas to Market
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced a new $12 million innovation competition, in partnership with NIH and the National Science Foundation (NSF). EDA will award up to $1 million to each of six teams around the country with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship. NIH and NSF will award a total of up to $6 million in additional funding to NIH or NSF Small Business Innovation Research grantees associated with winning teams.

HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces $1 Billion in NIH Recovery Act Awards to Construct or Improve Biomedical Research Facilities: Grants expected to create or sustain jobs while advancing research nationwide
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that $1 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds have been awarded to construct, repair and renovate scientific research laboratories and related facilities across the country. The NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) administered the grants, which are expected to create or sustain jobs nationwide and help foster scientific advances that may lead to improved human health.

NIH Initiated a Web site to Provide Information on Financial Conflict of Interest and the Recent Notice of Proposed Rule Making
Partnerships between NIH-funded researchers and industry are often essential to the process of moving discoveries from the bench to the bedside. However, managing financial conflicts of interest can be a major challenge because of the complex relationships among Government, academia, and industry. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which is open for public comment for 60 days (until July 20, 2010), proposes a general revision to the existing regulations.

Other Federal News
FDA Approves New Treatment for Late-Onset Pompe Disease
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved LumizymeTM (alglucosidase alfa) for patients ages 8 years and older with late-onset (non-infantile) Pompe disease, a rare genetic disorder.

Meetings and Events

100th Meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Director
The 100th meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) occurred on Thursday, June 10, 2010, on the NIH Main Campus. For more information about this meeting, including the agenda, videocast, and past meeting summaries, please visit the ACD Web site.

NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting
The NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting was held Tuesday, June 15, 2010, on the NIH Campus. For more information about the meeting, including an agenda and summaries from past meetings, visit the NIAMS Web site.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are Continuing Medical Education-certified lectures, open to the public and available live via Webcast.

Upcoming lecture:

June 30, 2010
Dr. Joan Steitz
"Regulating the Activity of MicroRNAs in Vertebrate Cells"


June Shorttakes
NIAMS Shorttakes is a compilation of news from the Institute that is published three times a year in conjunction with NIAMS Advisory Council meetings.

NIH Research Matters
NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.

NIH Public Bulletin
Read about the latest public events, activities and health information resources from NIH in the latest issue of the NIH Public Bulletin.

NIH News in Health
Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by NIH’s own scientists or by our grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.

Revised Publication:

Questions and Answers about Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis
This booklet contains general information about polymyalgia rheumatic and giant cell arteritis. It describes how these diseases are related, what the symptoms are, how they are diagnosed, and treatment options. Highlights of current research are also included.

NIAMS Coalition Corner logo

Bone, joint, muscle, skin… the breadth and depth of NIAMS’ work in some way likely touches almost every household in America. The medical, patient advocacy and research organizations representing arthritis, musculoskeletal and skin diseases are also vast—in fact, approximately 70 in number. The organizations are diverse as well, ranging in purpose from promoting research, to translating science to excellence in health care, to disease awareness and education. Even within this considerable scope, though, these organizations all hold one principle in common: they want cures and better treatments for the diseases they represent. They want to extend and improve the health of Americans.

It is out of this shared vision that these organizations came together and the NIAMS Coalition was born. The group recognizes that there is a direct correlation between the strength of NIAMS as an agency and our nation’s ability to combat diseases that collectively affect millions of Americans—children and adults from every walk of life and every corner of this country. Our Coalition strives to be a united voice for the millions of Americans who directly benefit from the Institute’s work.

We are the 2010 co-chairs of the Coalition and come to this role at a time of rebirth for the group. Through new communications and outreach activities, periodic teleconferences, and a NIAMS Outreach and Education Day, the NIAMS Coalition enters this new decade more robust than ever. As we look ahead to the coming year, our Coalition membership is working together to facilitate open dialogue with NIAMS leadership, build on the strengths of fellow Coalition members, raise awareness within the general public about disorders within NIAMS’ purview and the research progress being made, and accelerate the realization of more effective treatments and cures for the patient communities we represent.

Join us in our quest to bring to the forefront the significance and consequence that research supported by NIAMS has for our families, communities and the nation at large. Whether in your own organizations or communities or with policy makers, support the NIAMS Coalition as we stand up for the value of biomedical research.


Annie Kennedy Sheila Rittenberg
Annie Kennedy Sheila Rittenberg
photo of Annie Kennedy photo of Sheila Rittenberg

Note: The NIAMS Coalition is an independent group of more than 70 different professional and voluntary organizations concerned with the programs of NIAMS. For more information about the NIAMS Coalition, please contact Co-Chairs Annie Kennedy or Sheila Rittenberg.

Funding Announcements
NIH Roadmap Initiative Announcement

Revised Requirements for the Completion of NIH-RAID Applications Using the Restructured Electronic SF 424 (R&R) Application Package

NIAMS Research Announcements

Rheumatic Diseases Research Core Centers (P30)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: July 27, 2010
Application Receipt Date: August 27, 2010

Skin Diseases Research Core Centers (P30)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: September 1, 2010
Application Receipt Date: October 1, 2010

Core Centers for Musculoskeletal Biology and Medicine (P30)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: September 1, 2010
Application Receipt Date: October 1, 2010

Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications for Ancillary Studies to Large Ongoing Clinical Projects (R01)

Notice of Intent to Publish a Request for Applications for Ancillary Studies to Large Ongoing Clinical Projects (R21)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Centers of Research Translation (CORT) (P50) RFA-AR-11-002

The purpose of this notice is to alert potential applicants that NIAMS has posted a set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding applications for “Centers of Research Translation” in response to RFA-AR-11-002 (P50).

The FAQ is available on the NIAMS Web site (PDF File-98KB). All applicants are encouraged to review the FAQ prior to submitting their application. We anticipate updating the FAQ page as needed and recommend that applicants check back for updates to the FAQ regularly until their submission date.

Other Research Announcements

Limited Competition: Strengthening Behavioral and Social Science in Medical School Education (R25)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: May 21, 2010
Application Receipt Date: June 21, 2010

Reminder: NIH/AHRQ/NIOSH/FDA Return to a Two-day Error Correction Window for Grant Applications Effective May 8, 2010

Enhancing Peer Review: Expectation for Service on NIH Peer Review and Advisory Groups

Extension of Modified Application Submission, Referral and Review to Members of NIH Program Advisory Committees (PACs)

NIH Expands Provisions of the Streamlined Noncompeting Award Process (eSNAP) and Requires Electronic Submission of SNAPs Beginning August 1, 2010

Request for Information: Scientific and Regulatory Issues to be Explored at an Upcoming Pluripotent Stem Cell Workshop Involving NIH and FDA

Budgeting for Genomic Arrays for NIH Grants, Cooperative Agreements and Contracts

Enhancing Peer Review Advance Notice: New NIH Policy on Post-Submission Application Materials

NIH Requests Comments on the Proposed Rule Applicable to Regulations on the Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which Public Health Service Funding is Sought and Responsible Prospective Contractors

Release of New Guidance for Applying for New Therapeutic Discovery Project Program Created by the Affordable Care Act

Request for Information (RFI) on the NIH Plan to Develop the Genetic Testing Registry

Update of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.